Horse Cake

Fun party, excellent cake! The vegan, allergy free cake was a hit with the kids who couldn’t have dairy or eggs. The vegan cake looked exactly like the cake below, but used vegan ingredients. If you want the recipe, email me.

The more popular cake, was this horse, pictured below. Lots of people requested the recipe, which is one I adapted from Epicurious and which is my favorite of all chocolate sheet cakes. The frosting is based on a recipe from “Mean Chef” on Recipezaar.

To make a horse cake, follow recipe below, then freeze cake. Carve frozen cake as described here.


Chocolate Sheet Cake With Rich Chocolate Frosting

Flour-Added Cooking Spray
2 cups sifted cake flour (sifted, then measured)
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process or Hershey’s Dark)
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
1/2 cup warm water or coffee
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips or chopped bittersweet chocolate
13 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon espresso powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
5 ounces unsalted butter
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13×9 inch baking pan with foil leaving a slight overhang; spray foil with flour-added cooking spray.

Whisk flour and next 4 ingredients in medium bowl and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat brown sugar and butter until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Stir in flour mixture, alternately with buttermilk. Stir in water (of coffee) and chocolate chips.
Pour batter into greased pan. Bake cake until tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 22 minutes. Set pan on a rack and cool completely. Wrap tightly in foil and freeze until ready to use.
Make Frosting. In a large, microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate and butter. Microwave on high for 1 ½ minutes, stopping to stir every 30 seconds to distribute heat. Add espresso powder to hot melted chocolate and set aside.

In food processor, process sugar, cocoa, butter and salt until thoroughly mixed. Add sugar mixture to melted chocolate mixture and beat until smooth. Stir in cream. Place in refrigerator and chill until very cold or freeze until ready to use.

When chilled, mixture will be firm. Place in mixing bowl and bring to room temperature. Using electric mixer, beat cold chocolate mixture until fluffy and spreadable.

Note: This makes enough frosting to frost two 13×9 inch cakes. It freezes well, so you can freeze half or use all at once.

White frosting (used for mane)

I can’t really give proportions because I tend to just throw things in the bowl and beat until the consistency seems right, but the mane was made with softened butter, shortening, confectioners sugar, vanilla and milk. I also did a vegan (dairy free) version with Willow Run spread, shortening, confectioners sugar and soymilk.

Related posts:


  1. Dani says

    Ohhh, I need to make a cake for my neighbors daughter – she has lactose intolerance and a vegan cake sounds like something she should be able to eat.

    Could you email me the recipe? daniela AT culinarystudent Dot us

  2. meredith says

    What a super-looking cake. Quick question about the recipe, thouogh: I thought that Dutch-process cocoa was for recipes w/ only baking powder, or when baking powder quantity is greater than baking soda…am I confused? Doesn’t it make a difference in leavening/rise?

  3. Anna says

    Hi Meredith,

    Dutch process cocoa is neutral (alkalized), which means it doesn’t have enough acid to react with baking soda. However, if the recipe has another very acidic ingredient, a leavening reaction will occur. In this case, the other acidic ingredient is the large amount of buttermilk.

  4. carole says

    The cakeis beautiful. As I said before “you are one talented lady” Sounds like all the kids had a wonderful time and that Fuzz was Queen for the day.

    The cake sounds wonderful. I may just make it without making it into a horse.

  5. sandra says

    The cake looks great!! Too bad my daughter that loves horses is going to be 18 on her next birthday. Aw….I might just make it anyway. She’ll probably get a kick out of it!!

  6. Anna says

    Daniela, I emailed you the recipe. Let me know if you did not receive it.

    Alison, I don’t know about the kids, but the parents sure did like it ;). The kids just wanted to eat it.
    Actually, they did seem to really like it. I was worried it would be too chocolate-packed for them, but they ate it all.

    Steph, that’s what I love about Family Fun. All the cakes look complicated, but are super simple.

    Tracy, I used my decorating tubes for the mane.

    Carole, I am really not talented at all. The person who thought up the cake shape is the brilliant one. Even an all thumbs decorator can make this cake. Oh, Fuzz is always queen for a day — all day everyday.

    Sandra, just make it. She’ll love it.

  7. Meaghan says

  8. Lora says


    May I get your vegan recipe for this cake? My daughter has allergies to milk and eggs. For her second birthday I would love to make this cake.

    Thanks — Lora :)

  9. says

    I emailed this version to Lora and am posting it here.

    Vegan Cake (for Horse Cake)

    3 cups cake flour (340 grams)
    2 cups granulated sugar (398 oz)
    2 teaspoons baking soda (10 ml)
    1 teaspoon salt (5 ml)
    1/2 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder (51 grams)
    3/4 cup vegetable oil (180 ml)
    1 teaspoon vanilla (5 ml)
    2 tablespoons vinegar (30 ml)
    2 cups warm water or brewed coffee (I used water since the cake was for kids) (480 ml)

    (Frosting Recipe Below)

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). If you are making a horse cake, line a 13×9 inch pan with non-stick foil.

    In a large mixing bowl, six the dry ingredients thoroughly. Add liquid ingredients Mix until uniform, then beat with an electric mixer for about a minute.

    Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes for round pans or 40-45 minutes for 13×9 inch. Let cool on a rack.

    Freeze cake. Carve cake while frozen or partially frozen. Frost cake with a thin layer of frosting while frozen. Let it thawn then add another layer of frosting and decorate.

    Chocolate Frosting

    8 oz vegan butter, softened (such as Earth Balance Buttery Sticks)
    2/3 cups unsweetened cocoa powder – sifted
    2 1/2 to 3 cups confectioner’s sugar, measured and sifted
    2 tablespoons soy or almond milk
    1 teaspoon vanilla

    Stir together softened vegan butter, cocoa and 2 cups of the sugar. Add soy milk and vanilla and stir again. Using high speed of electrix mixer (I use the whipping attachment on my stand mixer), beat icing for a minute. Add the rest of the sugar, adding just until you think it’s the right consistency. Beat for a good 3-5 minutes, scraping side of bowl often, until light and fluffy. Ice the cake.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *